Wyc Grousbeck

Adam Silver Talks Apron Rules, Expansion, Dolan Letter, More

Executives from teams like the Clippers, Nuggets, and Lakers have cited the NBA’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement and its new tax apron rules this offseason when explaining their inability to retain key players or to make roster upgrades. The apron has also been blamed by some league observers for a perceived decline in blockbuster trades, given the various new restrictions that apron teams face when trying to make deals.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, including ESPN’s Baxter Holmes, NBA commissioner Adam Silver defended the apron rules, suggesting they’re having their intended effect and disagreeing with the notion that they’ve made the offseason any less exciting.

“What I’m hearing from teams, even as the second apron is moving to kick in, the teams are realizing there are real teeth in those provisions,” Silver said. “I don’t know how to view this, but I know reports have come out that the summer was boring from a fan standpoint. I don’t certainly think it was. We still saw a lot of critically important players moving from one team to another as free agents.

“But at the same time, I think this new system, while I don’t want it to be boring, I want to put teams in a position, 30 teams, to better compete. I think we’re on our way to doing that.”

Silver also pushed back on the perception that the NBA is trying to break up dynasties or discourage teams from being able to win two or three titles in a row.

“As long as we can create something close to a level playing field in terms of the tools available to teams to compete, I’m absolutely fine with dynasties and I’m fine with new teams emerging every year,” Silver said.

Here’s more from the commissioner:

  • The NBA is still putting the finishing touches on its new media rights deals, according to Silver, who reiterated that the league will turn its focus to possible expansion when those agreements have been finalized. “I will say (expansion)’s a bit more complicated than is suggested sometimes,” Silver said, per Holmes. “Just think of the new media deals, for example. Once they’re completed, when you bring in new partners, you’re diluting those payments to teams. Sometimes it seems as if we’re printing money when we expand. Actually, it’s no different than selling equity in any business. I think there needs to be a fair amount of modeling at the league office, working with existing owners and really thinking through the long-term prospects, again not just economically but also for potential of dilution of talent.”
  • Silver confirmed that Knicks owner James Dolan sent a letter to the NBA office and the rest of the league’s teams criticizing the new media deals, acknowledging that the contents of that letter were discussed at Tuesday’s Board of Governors meeting. However, he declined to go into any more detail, as Stefan Bondy of The New York Post writes. “My response is we try to keep these issues in the family,” Silver said. “… I don’t think it’s appropriate to get into the specifics of what was discussed at our meeting.”
  • According to Holmes, Silver referred to Wyc Grousbeck‘s announcement that the Celtics are up for sale as “bittersweet,” lauding the current ownership group for the work it has done with the franchise over the past couple decades. “I understand the family circumstances and why he and his family have elected at this moment to sell the franchise,” Silver said. “I’m frankly saddened by it, just because not only have they won two championships, but beyond that they’ve operated the team in a first-class manner and he’s been a first-class owner in this league.”

Celtics Notes: Tatum, Brown, Grousbeck, Sale

All-NBA Celtics forward Jayson Tatum, fresh off capturing his first NBA title, just signed the biggest contract in league history, a five-year, super-max deal worth a projected $313.93MM. According to Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe, Tatum believes his championship has helped quiet some of the discourse surrounding him in the league at present.

“You know, just being the topic of discussion of so many debates or whatever it is. ‘Can he lead a team? Is he a top-five player?’” Tatum said. “There’s still a lot of things I guess they can debate, but I’ve done some things they can’t debate. I won a championship. I did it at the highest level. So having that under my belt, like, obviously there’s still conversations to be had or whatever people want to say, but they’ve always got to refer to me as an NBA champion.”

Tatum seemed grateful for his lucrative new extension, too.

“For me just to feel wanted, and they want me to be here and want me for the long haul,” Tatum said. “I’ll spend my whole career here and have got nothing but love for the fans, the city, and the organization. You know, we just won a championship and I want to try to win as many as I can.”

During the 2023/24 regular season, the five-time All-Star and four-time All-NBA honoree posted superlative averages of 26.9 points, 8.1 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 1.0 steals and 0.6 blocks across 74 contests, with a .471/.376/.833 shooting line.

There’s more out of Boston:

  • Tatum’s All-Star teammate Jaylen Brown appeared miffed to have been passed over to replace Kawhi Leonard on Team USA in favor of another Celtics wing, Derrick White, Himmelsbach writes in a separate piece. Brown posted an emoj-packed tweet expressing his apparent displeasure. Sources confirmed to Brian Robb of MassLive that the 6’6″ small forward was indeed frustrated by the choice. Team USA managing director Grant Hill explained the decision on Wednesday. “This is about putting together a team,” Hill told gathered media. “Just kind of overall, you have incredible interest from an abundance of talent that we have here in the United States. I’ve talked a little about when we assembled this roster.”
  • Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck recently revealed his intentions to sell his stake in the team. Now, Grousbeck has outlined some supplemental details of the plan, Robb notes in an additional article. “I want to clarify, it’s not my majority stake,” Grousbeck said. “The control of the team is owned by my family, so it’s a family that I belong to and then I have the Celtics family I also belong to, so there’s an intersection and there’s an involvement.” According to Robb, Grousbeck hopes to sell the majority of his family’s ownership stake early next year. “The plan, the expectation is to sell the team in two parts, 51 percent going fairly soon,” Grousbeck said. “49 percent then closing in a second closing, that’s the expectation in 2028. I’m planning or expected to stay on until 2028 (as governor) and we’re going to hire bankers and advisors and this is going to be quite a bidding process.”
  • Grousbeck may be selling his portion of the Celtics chiefly because of long-term family estate planning, writes Eben Novy-Williams of Sportico. Boston is valued at an estimated $5.12 billion by Sportico, Novy-Williams adds.

Atlantic Notes: Martin, Sixers, Embiid, Vezenkov, Celtics

In order to maximize their cap room, the Sixers renounced the rights to nearly all of their free agents, including a handful of players who hadn’t actually been on the roster for years, per Keith Smith of Spotrac (Twitter links). However, there was one notable exception: KJ Martin‘s cap hold remains on the team’s books.

Martin’s cap hold is worth the veteran’s minimum of $2,087,519, but Philadelphia holds his full Bird rights, allowing the team to go over the cap to re-sign him to a contract worth any salary up to the maximum.

Of course, Martin won’t get the max, but it could be in the 76ers’ best interests to re-sign him to a deal worth more than the minimum. Besides potentially vying for rotation minutes, Martin might come in handy as a trade chip on a roster where so many players will be earning either maximum- or minimum-salary contracts.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • A year after James Harden‘s trade demand hung over the Sixers‘ offseason like a dark cloud, there’s more optimism this summer in Philadelphia about the new-look roster, headed by Joel Embiid, Paul George, and Tyrese Maxey. Speaking to Tim Bontemps of ESPN, Embiid cautioned that the team still needs to make it work on the court, but admitted he’s excited about how the new big three looks. “On paper, and as far as the fit, it looks fantastic because you got both guys that can play off the ball, and they can play on ball and they’re great shooters and they can handle the ball, and then you also got me,” he said with a smile.“So, yeah, it looks great.”
  • Addressing the Sasha Vezenkov situation on Monday, Raptors president Masai Ujiri said he has had discussions with Vezenkov, his representatives, GM Bobby Webster, and head coach Darko Rajakovic about the matter. As Keith Smith of Spotrac details in depth, Vezenkov has reportedly reached a deal with Olympiacos but remains under contract with Toronto on a guaranteed NBA contract, preventing him from returning to Greece without the Raptors’ cooperation. “I think that should develop in the next few days or we’ll see whether it’s a few months,” Ujiri said. “We acquired a player in a trade and we feel we have communicated well. We communicated well with the agent and the team before. And so we’ll see how that goes.”
  • Taking a closer look at the Celticsdecision to put majority control of the franchise up for sale, Dan Shaughnessy of The Boston Globe says he believe H. Irving Grousbeck is ‘the one driving this sale” and that his son Wyc Grousbeck – the team’s governor and CEO – actually owns a “relatively small stake” in the team.

Atlantic Notes: Hartenstein, Pagliuca, George, Nets Rebuild

Money talks and that’s one big reason why Isaiah Hartenstein walked away from the Knicks in free agency. It was a difficult decision for Hartenstein, Stefan Bondy of the New York Post writes, because he wanted to stay in New York.

But as a player who had earned approximately $23MM so far in his NBA career, Hartenstein couldn’t pass up on the Thunder‘s three-year, $87MM offer, which will pay him about $30MM in year one, especially given the more favorable cost of living in Oklahoma City, Bondy writes. The Knicks held the center’s Early Bird rights, limiting them to a four-year, $72.5MM offer.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Celtics co-owner Steve Pagliuca suggested in a statement relayed by Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe (Twitter link) that he’s not looking to divest from the team. Earlier on Monday, it was made public that the team’s majority ownership group, led by Wyc Grousbeck, intended to put the franchise up for sale. Pagliuca’s statement reads in part, “Being a co-investor and managing partner of the Celtics has been a great honor and a labor of love. I hope to be a part of the Celtics moving forward and will be a proud participant in the bidding process that has been announced today.”
  • The Sixers had little choice but to pursue Paul George on the free agent market in order to keep up with the Eastern Conference contenders, Sam Amick of The Athletic opines. It was the best move available on the board, according to Amick, and keeps them alive in the chase for next year’s conference title.
  • The Nets must choose among two paths in their rebuild, according to Brian Lewis of the New York Post. They could make up to four first-round picks in a loaded 2025 draft and spend $80MM in free agency in an effort to accelerate the process or they could take a longer route. In that scenario, they could trade Ben Simmons, Bojan Bogdanovic and Dennis Schröder — players that come off the cap next summer — this offseason for unwanted multiyear contracts and more picks.

Celtics’ Ownership Group To Put Team Up For Sale

12:37pm: The Celtics confirmed in a press release that the majority ownership group plans to sell of its shares in the team (Twitter link via Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston).

The controlling family of the ownership group, after considerable thought and internal discussion, has decided to sell the team for estate and family planning considerations. The managing board of the ownership group expects to sell a majority interest in 2024 or early 2025, with the balance closing in 2028, and expects Wyc Grousbeck to remain as the Governor of the team until the second closing in 2028.”

12:13pm: On the heels of their record-setting 18th NBA championship, the Celtics will be hitting the market, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). Sources tell Wojnarowski that the team’s majority ownership group, led by Wyc Grousbeck, intends to make the franchise available for sale.

Grousbeck has been the team’s Governor since his Boston Basketball Partners group purchased the Celtics for $360MM back in 2002. Boston has won two NBA titles under his stewardship, in 2008 and just a few weeks ago.

A source tells Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe that while Grousbeck is selling his stake in the Celtics, other minority shareholders are expected to remain invested in the team (Twitter link).

As ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets, the Celtics could be the most expensive team in NBA history in 2025/26, when a potential super-max extension for Jayson Tatum kicks in. Grousbeck will be looking to sell his stake just as severe roster-building restrictions are implemented in the new CBA.

As of December, Sportico had the Celtics ranked as the fourth-most valuable franchise in the NBA, with a valuation of $5.12 billion. That figure seems likely to have risen in the past eight months, given the team’s on-court success.

Grousbeck, 63, is a Massachusetts native who has built his wealth through various investments over the past few decades. His father, Irving, is a billionaire who co-founded Continental Cablevision.

Wyc Grousbeck Explains Celtics’ Decision To Shake Up Roster

The Celtics reached the NBA Finals in 2022 and fell one game short of returning last season, but management decided changes were needed after the playoff loss to the Heat, co-owner Wyc Grousbeck said in an interview with Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe.

Grousbeck characterized the last two seasons as “missed opportunities,” even though he admitted his team lost to two good opponents. Following the playoffs, he had a meeting with president of basketball operations Brad Stevens and head coach Joe Mazzulla in which they decided to explore chances to revamp the roster. That led to a three-team trade in late June that brought Kristaps Porzingis to Boston.

“The general tone was, how do we take this energy we’re feeling right now that was built up over having two good seasons, but then didn’t get all the way,” Grousbeck said. “The whole point is, how do we get to banner 18? If we’d all agreed we should keep things the same, that would have been fine. But the idea of bringing in another talented big popped up early in the conversation, and we ended up executing on that idea.”

They decided to focus on Porzingis, who was facing a decision on a $36MM player option after a productive season with the Wizards. Porzingis had other interested teams if he had opted for free agency, but Grousbeck said he was eager to join the Celtics.

“He is a committed and now seasoned and effective player. He’s a real force. I’m really impressed with his commitment to being part of a winning Celtics team,” Grousbeck said. “I met with him when he came up for the press conference and spent some real time with him, and he’s so happy to be here. He’s so ready to shine at this stage of his career. But he sees a team concept, not the KP show. He’s continually improved over his career, and he thinks this is his prime. But he’s about the team, his teammates and the banner. He chose us. There were other people, I hear, that wanted him. And he chose us. He wants to be here and he wants to win a ring.”

Grousbeck covers several other topics in the interview, including:

The commitment to Mazzulla, who faced criticism in the playoffs in his first year running the team:

“If Joe had done a poor job, I would have thought about replacing him, but he did a very good job. He took us within one game of the best record in the league and then one game of being in the Finals, as a rookie coach. So I’m comfortable and happy to have Joe as head coach.”

The Celtics’ willingness to spend despite restrictions in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement:

“The league doesn’t allow us to comment on the details of the CBA, but having said that, we’re obviously all in, with the record contract for Jaylen (Brown) and with our payroll this year and in coming years. Eventually, there are basketball penalties for spending, so that will go into the thought process down the road. But at the moment, the best basketball thing we can do is what we’re doing.”

Heading into the future with Brown and Jayson Tatum as franchise cornerstones:

“They’re the best two people I could imagine building a team around. We’ve had them since the beginning. We’ve been very lucky to have them here for their whole careers, and we’re building the team around them. But you add the next eight guys to the list. You take our top 10 and we’ve got a really good team. The focus is naturally on those two because they’re All-NBA players and All-Stars, but I like the whole roster.”

Atlantic Notes: Thibodeau, Knicks, Grousbeck, Boucher

During an interview Friday with WFAN, Knicks owner James Dolan said reaching the playoffs will “definitely be a benchmark” for this season, writes Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. Dolan didn’t specify what will happen if the team falls short, but Bondy suggests the repercussions will likely be directed at head coach Tom Thibodeau, who is in his third season with the team.

New York is in seventh place in the East at 27-24 following Saturday’s loss to Brooklyn, so the prospects for at least the play-in tournament appear good. Thibodeau acknowledged Dolan’s statement, but said it won’t change his approach to running the team.

“I never worry about that stuff. Hey look, for me, I look at (Dolan) as — is he giving us everything we need to be successful? Yes,” Thibodeau said. “So, go out there and give him everything we have. Hopefully, we have the team that does that, so we want him to have belief in the team. I think that’s good.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Knicks are focused mainly on adding bench depth before the trade deadline, Ian Begley of SNY.TV states in a mailbag column. Begley adds that the front office appears committed to building a contender around the current core group and doesn’t view a full-scale rebuilding project as a viable option.
  • The Celtics will approach the trade deadline with a philosophy of trying to win the title this season, owner Wyc Grousbeck said in an interview with NBC Sports Boston (video link). When asked about his message to president of basketball operations Brad Stevens, Grousbeck responded, “It’s about this year. It’s not about ‘this will pay dividends in three years or this will do this next year. It’s this year; muscle up and let’s go get the job done.’ … If there’s anything to do, we’ll do it. If not, we love this team. We’re top of the league right now.”
  • Friday’s trip to Golden State brought back memories for Raptors big man Chris Boucher, who started his NBA career by appearing in one game for the Warriors in 2018, per Michael Grange of Sportsnet. Boucher faced an uncertain NBA future at the time, but he ultimately landed a rotation role with the Raptors. “I’m a lot older, I say that. I think I take things a lot differently than I used to,” Boucher said. “(I’m) less emotional, sensitive and (can) take criticism and not thinking that it’s all about me and everybody’s pointing fingers at me and all that. More able to see my mistakes and being able to fix them by myself, trying to be a better player every time I step on the floor.”

Celtics Notes: Udoka, Grousbeck, Stevens, Centers

During a press conference on Friday, Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck said a law firm hired to investigate coach Ime Udoka’s intimate relationship with a female staff member uncovered “a volume of violations,” writes Jared Weiss of The Athletic. The team reached out to the law firm this summer after being made aware of the nature of the relationship. Grousbeck added that the investigation focused entirely on Udoka, and no one else in the organization is facing disciplinary action.

Grousbeck received the firm’s report on Wednesday and talked to several shareholders before deciding to impose a season-long suspension on Udoka that runs through June 30. He added that there is a “a significant financial penalty” that goes along with the suspension, but didn’t specify whether Udoka will go through the entire year without being paid.

“This felt right, but there’s no clear guidelines for any of this,” Grousbeck responded when asked whether Udoka should have been dismissed. “This is really a conscious, gut feel and being here 20 years.”

There’s more from Boston:

  • Team president Brad Stevens‘ answer about the level of communication Udoka will have with the team during his suspension was troubling, contends Steve Buckley of The Athletic“I’m not going to get into specifics of what I, how we’re moving forward with that,” Stevens said at the press conference. “But I will say that he’s got a lot of relationships with a lot of people. As we alluded to earlier, yesterday wasn’t an easy day for a lot of people in a lot of ways.” Buckley warns that any conversations between Udoka and the players could undermine 34-year-old interim coach Joe Mazzulla and recommends that the suspended coach should be banned from talking to them during the season.
  • Stevens wasn’t interested in returning to his former job as head coach while Udoka is suspended, per Brian Robb of MassLive. Grousbeck brought up the idea, but Stevens believes he can better serve the team by staying in his current position and acting as an advisor to Mazzulla.
  • Stevens told Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe that the Celtics won’t overreact to Robert Williams‘ injury by signing a veteran big man before giving a chance to players already on the roster. Washburn suggests that could mean more minutes for Luke Kornet and possibly two-way player Mfiondu Kabengele.

Atlantic Notes: Udoka, Smart, Raptors, De Colo, Simmons

New Celtics head coach Ime Udoka was intrigued by the chance to work under Brad Stevens, a president of basketball operations uniquely positioned to understand Udoka’s role as well as anyone, writes Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe.

The Celtics, in turn, were drawn to Udoka due to his work ethic, his pedigree – including his experience working under Gregg Popovich – and his ability to connect with a young team. According to Himmelsbach, during Udoka’s previous stints as an assistant, he’d often go out for dinner with players to learn more about them.

Udoka’s final interview with the Celtics took place on Sunday, with Stevens, team owners Wyc Grousbeck and Steve Pagliuca, and VP of player development Allison Feaster all present. While that group ultimately made the decision to hire Udoka, the C’s also sought input from former president of basketball ops Danny Ainge and multiple players, including Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, Himmelsbach notes.

As Udoka takes the reins in Boston, he’ll be tasked with rebuilding the Celtics’ defensive identity and developing the club’s young talent, Kevin Pelton of ESPN writes in an Insider-only story. Pelton suggests that Udoka may also prioritize increasing the team’s ball movement and putting players in positions to create shots for teammates — Boston’s rate of assisted field goals ranked 27th in the NBA in 2020/21.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • Marcus Smart isn’t a traditional point guard, but he’s a “criminally underrated” passer, according to Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston, who outlines why Smart could be the Celtics‘ starter at the point in 2021/22 with Kemba Walker gone.
  • The Raptors secured the fourth overall pick in a draft that is viewed as having at least four top-tier prospects, but that doesn’t mean they’re content with simply staying put and taking whichever player drops to them, writes Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca. General manager Bobby Webster suggested the club will be open to a variety of scenarios with that selection. “All of our options are open,” Webster said. “As much as we would love the pick, we’re going to see what it yields outside of the draft.”
  • Veteran guard Nando De Colo, who technically remains a Raptors restricted free agent despite not having played in the NBA since 2014, will return to Fenerbahce in Turkey for at least one more season, as Emiliano Carchia of Sportando relays. Toronto has issued De Colo a qualifying offer for seven straight years to retain his RFA rights and will likely do so again this summer.
  • While there’s no guarantee that the Ben Simmons era in Philadelphia will come to an end this offseason, Chris Mannix of SI.com believes that it should, arguing that Simmons and the Sixers would both benefit from a fresh start.

Atlantic Notes: Rivers, Green, Grousbeck, Powell

New Knicks point guard Austin Rivers was held out of practice on Wednesday with a groin injury, according to Steve Popper of Newsday.

“I think it puts you behind, but you also want to be smart about it,” Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau said about his approach with the injury going forward.

Marc Berman of the New York Post tweets that, given the way Thibodeau has discussed the injury, Rivers’s preseason availability could be up in the air. The Knicks’ new guard has not taken any contact in practices to this point.

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • New Sixers swingman Danny Green will be bringing a championship pedigree and veteran leadership to his new club, as Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer details. Green has started for three title teams, including the two most recent champions. New Sixers head coach Doc Rivers applauded Green’s “unbelievable” shooting during his first practice for Philadelphia.
  • In a conversation with Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe, Celtics majority owner Wyc Grousbeck discussed the departure of forward Gordon Hayward, the knee troubles of starting point guard Kemba Walker, and his excitement about Boston rookies Aaron Nesmith and Payton Pritchard. “[Team president] Danny (Ainge’s) excitement about Aaron Nesmith is about the shooting and skill and size on both sides of the ball,” Grousbeck said. “I’m not saying Payton Pritchard is (Rajon) Rondo, but Danny had that level of excitement about seeing this kid on the team.”
  • Raptors reserve guard Norman Powell will lead a new-look bench unit for Toronto, per Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports. “This year the team looks a little different,” Powell said. “I think that’s the biggest challenge for me this year, is how do I get the new guys coming in to have that [same] chemistry [we had last season] so we can make an impact and sustain that high level of play and competitiveness, and keep playing Raptors basketball.” Second unit mainstays Serge Ibaka and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson both departed in free agency,